What is clinical research?


Clinical research studies are medical experiments that involve people like you.  They help to find new ways to safely and effectively ways to prevent, detect and treat diseases.  Clinical research studies are also called clinical trials.


Clinical trials are a big deal! Special doctors and scientists, called investigators start with an idea for a treatment, and then complete experiments in the lab to test new treatments or procedures, and then they test them on animals. The ones that seem to work the best are then tested on people in a clinical trial. Clinical trials move through a series of steps called phases, where investigators learn more information about the treatment, like what the right amount of the medication is (the dose), how safe the treatment is for people, how well it works (efficacy).

Each clinical trial has a set of rules, called criteria, that describe who can join. Children as well as adults, healthy volunteers and people with illnesses, and people of a diverse range of ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to participate in clinical trials.

Clinical trials follow a plan, called a protocol, that describes what you will be doing and what you can expect from the research team. It is important to understand the risks and benefits of being part of a clinical trial before joining one. You also have rights and protections as a participant in clinical trials.Adapted from NIH.gov 


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Register for our workshops, programs or camps that explore how scientists use clinical trials to discover, treat and cure health conditions.

Clinical Trials Industry

Hypothesis Haven Science Club's after-school programs, summer camps and workshops bring awareness and interest to the diverse range of health science careers that support the clinical trials industry. Read profiles below of some of the people of #clinicalresearch and the paths that they took to get there.

Rebecca Scott is a Research Pharmacist in The Texas Medical Center in Houston.


She always loved math as a young girl, but it wasn’t until college that she became interested in science, and especially chemistry. Rebecca became a pharmacist in 2008 and took a class on clinical research as part of her residency.


Years later, she rediscovered clinical research while working at a cancer hospital that had many patients who were on clinical trials. She requested to work in the hospital’s special pharmacy that prepared and dispensed medications for those patients. As a research pharmacist, she gets to work on all types of interesting studies, including vaccines that treat cancer.


Rebecca is a huge Harry Potter fan and a mom of two.

As a child growing up in Costa Rica, Farrah Chickerneo loved science, physics and PE.


Farrah eventually became a medical doctor and worked for 3 years as an ER physician in her native country before moving to the United States.


She discovered the clinical research field after working with radioactive isotopes and animals in the research lab, and now works as a clinical research monitor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.


A large part of her job is making sure that proper conduct is followed during human clinical trials.


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